Grasshoopers jump to Class A volleyball title
By By Will Bardwell / staff writer
June 20, 2004
Keith Haney didn't come all the way from Tupelo for nothing.
A veteran of more than a decade of State Games of Mississippi volleyball tournaments, Haney and teammate Bert Martin the Grasshoppers made up for a loss during pool play on Saturday to win the gold medal in the Class A volleyball tournament.
Steve Rasmussen and Patrick Cook, whose team name was 1+1=3, came up short in the Class A championship game and took home the silver medal. Scott Pellegrin and Judd Smith, nicknamed No Show, won the gold medal in Class A, the top division on the tournament.
"They (Rasmussen and Cook) beat us in pool play," said Haney, who also won gold medals in all but two of his previous State Games appearances. "We played a lot better, really scoring this time (in the championship game). We avenged ourselves for our prior loss."
In the men's Class B tournament, Brandon Massingill and Ben Stewart won the gold medal under the simple moniker of Ben and Brandon. The team of Randy Cathers and Joey Cox, nicknamed Fat Boy Slim, took the silver medal. Billy King and Troy Festervan came away with the bronze medal.
The women's tournament was won by the Sandy Bottoms, Wanda Johnson and Robin Molle'. The Grasshopperettes, Maureen Haney and Leah Passmore, earned silver medals. Dawn Gray and Melissa Jasper, whose team name was the Ladies, won bronze.
Play began at 9 a.m. at the Lauderdale County Agri-Center in round-robin-style pool play. After a handful of matches, the top three teams from each division moved on and were seeded for elimination play. The top seed in each category earned a first-round bye.
Though the competitors were sheltered by the large pavilion at the Agri-Center, they were not completely protected from the elements. Temperatures of over 90 degrees made for uncomfortable conditions, and a steady rain in the afternoon raised the air's humidity.
Still, Keith Haney said the this year's tournament was another success for the State Games.
"This is a fabulous venue. It's a really nice place to play," Haney said. "It's a good game, and the camaraderie is great. You make friends for life. This is an absolutely great people place."